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Quebec will support pelagic fishermen while waiting for help from Ottawa

Minister André Lamontagne took advantage of his visit to the Gaspé to talk to a dozen herring and mackerel fishermen late Monday afternoon in Paspébiac.

Several of them face an imminent end to their employment insurance benefits, after Ottawa suspended without notice the spring herring and mackerel fishery on March 30, two days before the start of the season. .

According to the minister, Ottawa is responsible for compensating fishers for loss of income incurred without notice. The federal government has an obligation to act as a good fatherbelieves André Lamontagne.

Normally, this is something that should have been considered before and, at the same time as the end of fishing is announced, [Ottawa aurait dû] indicate how we support these people. We make sure to document that and support pelagic fishers so that, ultimately, the federal government comes up with a remedy.

According to Mr. Lamontagne, steps in this direction have already been taken in Ottawa.

What we are sending as a message is that there is work being done on the federal side to provide support for fishermen. »

A quote from André Lamontagne, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

According to the Quebec minister, this aid would possibly arrive during months to come.

In the short term, although he asserts don’t really [avoir] the power granting emergency assistance, André Lamontagne still intends to support fishermen so that they avoid finding themselves without employment insurance.

This is the second time in eight days that members of the Southern Gaspésie Pelagic Fishermen’s Association have been visited by politicians. Last Sunday, a PQ delegation, including the leader of the Parti Québécois, went to meet the members in Newport.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

Minister Lamontagne’s team has asked the Association of professional pelagic fishermen from the south of Gaspésie to send him information on fishermen who find themselves in a precarious financial situation in order to see if they can qualify for certain training or certain programs. offered by Quebec.

The possibility of working with Ottawa to see if an exceptional extension of employment insurance benefits is possible was also discussed.

According to the president of the Association of Professional Pelagic Fishermen of Southern Gaspésie, about fifteen fishermen derived most of their income from herring and mackerel fishing.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

A welcome visit

At the end of the meeting, the president of the Association of Professional Pelagic Fishermen, Ghislain Collin welcomed the very good listening of the minister .

He intends to work with Quebec to prevent some fishermen from finding themselves without income in the coming days.

We will give the list of fishermen who face the black hole, those who next week have no more moneyexplains Mr. Collin. They urgently need help. They are the oldest fishermen in the group, they cannot place themselves on other fishing boats. The priority is to take care of them.

In addition to being a fisherman himself, Ghislain Collin is president of the Association of Professional Pelagic Fishermen of Southern Gaspésie (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

Mr. Collin was also encouraged by possible federal aid, even if that does not solve the problems of financial precariousness of certain fishermen in the short term. Until then, we are in uncertainty and we do not yet know where we are goinghe admits.

An absent federal deputy

Ghislain Collin also denounced the silence of the federal deputy in the file, Diane Lebouthillier.

Lebouthillier dit que c’est inacceptable côté pêche, mais les pêcheurs font face au trou noir et ça, c’est le département de MmeLebouthillier, mais MmeLebouthillier est inexistante, elle n’est pas là et elle nous dit que ça ne la regarde pas et que ce n’est pas elle qui doit s’occuper de ça”,”text”:”MmeLebouthillier dit que c’est inacceptable côté pêche, mais les pêcheurs font face au trou noir et ça, c’est le département de MmeLebouthillier, mais MmeLebouthillier est inexistante, elle n’est pas là et elle nous dit que ça ne la regarde pas et que ce n’est pas elle qui doit s’occuper de ça”}}”>Ms. Lebouthillier says that this is unacceptable on the fishing side, but fishermen are facing a black hole and that is Ms. Lebouthillier’s department. But Mrs. Lebouthillier is non-existent, she is not there and she tells us that it does not concern her and that it is not her who should take care of ithe laments.

Pelagic fishermen deplore the lack of support from their regional federal deputy, Diane Lebouthillier (file photo).

Photo: Radio-Canada

Since the beginning of June, Radio-Canada has made two interview requests with Diane Lebouthillier on the subject.

However, her team has indicated that the MP does not intend to grant an interview on this subject before the week of June 27.

Her political attaché explains this refusal by a very busy parliamentary session in Ottawa and indicates that she will be more available when she returns to the riding.

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